A calculated insult

Ru Bei wanted to see Confucius. Confucius declined due to illness. As Ru Bei’s messenger was leaving, Confucius picked up his zither and sang loudly enough for him to hear.

Actions speak louder than words again, though this time hardly to Confucius’s credit as he deliberately insults Ru Bei.

Nobody knows who Ru Bei was or what – if anything – he did to upset Confucius. Although some commentators attempt to praise the sage for the elegance of the calculated insult he delivers by playing his zither and singing within earshot of his unwelcome visitor, there really can be no excuse for such crass behavior on his part.

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